On the 9th March 2016 the mother of one of my former student pleaded with me to teach her daughter who is in primary one this year. She said her daughter too, like her brother, cannot read at grade level. (See note below)
On 11.3.2016 Mary (not her real name) started tuition with me. Her spoken English is as good as most primary 3 kids.
I asked her to read some books. Her reading was laborious just like other students who have come to me.
She read the first book consisting of family words: bat, cat fat, hat, mat, pat, rat and sat with ease except that she read hesitatingly.
The same was true with the second book with the family words big, dig, fig, jig, pig, rig, and wig.
The third book is the one that confirmed that she is a disengaged student. This book was one with the family words, bug, dug, hug, jug, lug, mug, rug, and tug.
She kept reading the word ‘bug’ as bag and the word ‘rug’ as rag throughout the book.
She had no problem with the next book which had family words cot, dot, got, hot, lot, not, pot, and rot. However she kept reading one of the words ‘Dam’ as ‘dum(b). This is probably because of her learning Malay where the only sound of the letter ‘a’ is as in the letter ‘u’ in umbrella or the sound of the letter 'a' as in arm and alms in English.
She also had problems reading the words ‘was’,’ went’, ‘wet’ and ‘but’.
Note: I said 'pleaded because I had told her a few months earlier that I have stopped teaching as I want to travel and also have to prepare for my court case with Salcon Engineering Berhad which is scheduled to be heard on the 4th and 5th April this year.